Back Story of NNAC

In 1977, Marg McFarlane, President of London Newcomers Alumnae, and her committee, got the ball rolling for a National Registry of Newcomers Clubs. She contacted as many clubs convenient to Toronto as she could and held the first organizing meeting in 1977 in the Bank of Montreal Board Room on King Street in Toronto. There were 17 clubs represented at that meeting and a committee of 4 was appointed for one year. They were:

  • Joan Weir, Director and Advisor – Oshawa Newcomers Club
  • Donna Simpson, Treasurer – Oakville Newcomers Club
  • Marg McFarlane, Registrar – London Newcomers’ Alumnae
  • Janette Reid, Publicity – Thornhill Newcomers’ Alumnae

These four ladies had regular meetings anywhere on the first or second floors of the Royal York Hotel that they could find a quiet corner.

In May 1978, the National Newcomers’ Council of Canada (NNCC) was formed. (The name was changed to the National Newcomers Association of Canada (NNAC) in 1993). Then and now, the organization’s aims are:

(a) to act as an advisory body to member clubs
(b) to provide an up-to-date Register of paid-up member Newcomers and Alumnae clubs
(c) to facilitate the exchange of ideas between clubs
(d) to promote and/or publicize Newcomers organizations
(e) to supply information and assistance to people wishing to establish a Newcomers or Alumnae club.

The first annual general meeting of the National Newcomers Council of Canada (NNCC) was held in the Canada Trust Board Room, 110 Yonge Street, Toronto, on Wednesday, May 3, 1978, as the Bank of Montreal Board Room wouldn’t hold the 54 women that attended. The four volunteers agreed to stay on the Executive of NNCC for another year, as they were very excited about the response and felt they had only just begun!

By April, 1979 before the second annual general meeting, 23 clubs from across Canada belonged to NNCC – 4 in British Columbia, 2 in Alberta, 1 in Saskatchewan, 14 in Ontario, 1 in New Brunswick, and 1 in Nova Scotia. In these early years, the clubs were selling gold plated stick pins and charms, and clubs were also selling their cookbooks at these annual meetings. Some clubs that started up in the 1960s and 1970s formed Alumnae groups, and by the early 1980s some Alumnae groups had already joined NNCC. The early NNCC meetings usually ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and were held on weekdays. In 1981, the meeting was held at the Chelsea Inn in downtown Toronto.

During the 1980s, information kits were sent out to those wishing to start Newcomer and Alumnae clubs and By-Laws were instituted. By 1983, 49 clubs had joined NNCC.

In 1987, the Annual Meeting was held at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Toronto. A hospitality social gathering the evening before the Annual Meeting was initiated and the meeting was held on a weekend. Up to 1987, the Annual Meeting was held in May. After extensive discussion, it was decided May was not a good time to have an Annual Meeting, as most clubs were winding down their events and their executives were changing hands at that time. It was felt that a fall meeting would be more conducive for better attendance.

By 1988, the title of ‘President’ had replaced the title of ‘Director and Advisor,’ and the AGM was held in Mississauga, Ontario on September 24. Burlington Newcomers Clubs in Ontario hosted the 1989 meeting on September 23. The by-laws were amended to change the Annual Meeting to October every year. In 1990, Brantford Newcomers hosted the October 20 annual general meeting.

In 1993, NNCC had its first annual general meeting outside of Ontario in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was here that the concept of billeting came into full force. It was intended to try to reduce accommodation costs so that as many club representatives as possible could make it to the meeting.

Through the years, similar issues kept coming up at the annual general meetings – how to prevent lawsuits, pros and cons of being incorporated, and whether to allow men in the clubs. Since the beginning in 1978, it has been emphasized that NNCC (and now NNAC) is not a governing body, but a source of information, guidelines, and advice for all Newcomer clubs across Canada. In the beginning, Welcome Wagon and NNCC were entwined, but today that relationship has mostly stopped – Welcome Wagon is a business and Newcomer Clubs are strictly non-profit social clubs.

In 1994, Judy Giles from Beaconsfield, Quebec designed the logo which can be freely used by the member clubs.

When we started, correspondence was done on manual typewriters with some ditto or Gestetner copying. Long distance telephone calls were perhaps short and sweet because of the expense. Most correspondence was done by regular mail. Today, clubs are corresponding mainly by e-mail to keep in touch, not just across Canada, but worldwide. We’re now receiving club newsletters by e-mail, which saves time and money for the clubs. We also have a website where anyone can get information about our member clubs.

Over the years, we have evolved into a very professional organization to assist all current and future Newcomer and Newcomer Alumnae clubs.

On September 27, 2013, the name of the organization was changed to become the National Newcomers Association of Canada (NNAC), and the organization was incorporated through Industry Canada.

NNAC Today

The National Newcomers Association of Canada is not a governing body. Each Newcomers Club is self-administered with its own By-Laws and the NNAC does not interfere with the running of these clubs. The NNAC shall supply information, guidelines and advice as requested by interested individuals or clubs.

Qualifications of Members and Dues

Those Clubs eligible for active membership in the NNAC shall be any Newcomers Club, or any Alumnae or Grad groups of a Newcomers Club. Those individuals eligible to become associate members of the NNAC shall be any person whose term with a Newcomers Club has expired, but for whom there is no Alumnae group to which to move up. Also, any person who was formerly a member in good standing of a Newcomers Club or Alumnae Club and who moves to a place where there is no Newcomers Club is eligible for the status of an associate member. Membership dues are to be paid annually on or before the 30th day of June. Dues are not refundable.

Upon payment of dues, each member club shall be entitled to:

  • appear in and receive the NNAC Register
  • receive a copy of the NNAC Constitution and By-Laws
  • receive copies of the helpful information put out by the NNAC
  • receive each Newsletter published by the NNAC
  • have access to all resources on the NNAC website –
  • send delegates to attend the Annual General Meeting (upon payment of registration fees)
  • receive ONE vote at the Annual General Meeting. Associate members receive NO vote at the Annual General Meeting.

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting is held in October of each year. Each Club may send as many representatives to the Annual General Meeting as they wish, but receive only one vote for the club. Registration fees cover the cost of the meeting place and include a luncheon. Registration forms for the Annual Meeting are usually forwarded to all Clubs with the August newsletter of each year. Election of the NNAC Board of Directors takes place at the Annual General Meeting.

For further information concerning the NATIONAL NEWCOMERS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA, please contact: THE REGISTRAR/TREASURER at Further contact information is found on


Updated: December 2016